There are many benefits to a university or school implementing a recycling program such as boosting its brand, generating positive public relations, and attracting students, faculty members and donations.
Many universities are establishing green initiatives across their campuses in a bid to increase their diversion rates. It comes as no surprise - universities are home to a wide array of recyclable materials, from soda cans, to pizza boxes to waste paper – so here are some top tips to encourage recycling at your school or university.
Did you know that the average college student produces 640 pounds of solid waste each year which includes the disposal of 500 cups and 320 pounds of paper? With moving days, collegiate occasions and sporting events - there’s plenty of opportunities to reduce your university’s waste.
Do your Homework
There are many external funding options available specifically supporting the introduction and expansion of recycling programs in schools, colleges & universities. Take some time to research which grants you may be eligible for and start applying - this funding could help to offset the costs of recycling containers!
TIP: Alternatively, develop & propose a budget for your recycling program – don’t forget to consider the costs of containers, training, incentives and any additional signage
Choose your Recycling Containers
It is important to firstly determine where your trash originates from - is it in communal areas? Is it inside seminar halls? Is it outside dining facilities? These opportunities will then help to identify the adequate capacities and waste streams that are required to expose your students to the best recycling practices. Do you need a hooded top bin? What is a restricted lid? – We’ve answered your FAQ’s when it comes to choosing a container.
TIP: Don’t forget about other areas around campus that may not be as obvious as sources of recyclable materials – try the library, computer labs and faculty offices
Signage is a critical component when it comes to recycling as it will ensure the campus community can easily identify with your program - why not personalize your bin with your school’s logo, colors and message? As well as reducing the risk of contamination, persuasive signage can also increase the participation of students as it catches their attention and prompts the recycler to dispose of their waste correctly.
TIP: Why not provide students with a color coded map highlighting the areas in which your recycling containers have been placed? This will make the containers easier to find.
Use Team Spirit
Students gather near and far to take part in popular collegiate events that take place all year round. It is also a great opportunity to take advantage of the many different recyclable materials that will no doubt gather! Providing recycling receptacles at clear and visible points will encourage students to segregate their waste responsibly as well as raise awareness of your program. You can make recycling even more convenient at these events by opting for mixed recycling containers.
TIP: Collegiate sporting events are a great place to start! Try placing your recycling containers near the sports field so they can be used at the next football game.
Assemble a Green Team
To implement a cultural shift across campus, it may necessary to establish a green council to encourage and develop recycling initiatives in the university. This green team can help to evaluate current and future programs that could help to divert waste at your university or school. Your advocates can also help to establish and circulate recycling goals and targets across campus.
TIP: Try and get commitment from members across all departments, students and faculty in order to channel a diverse range of ideas and solutions.
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